One of my biggest pet peeves has always been when people exploit and shame the dead.
For me, the peeve started in 2009 with the death of Michael Jackson. Being 15 at the time of his death, I never listened to much of Jackson’s music minus the few odd hits but when new CDs and movies and even Cirque du Soleil shows on him came out, I didn’t see it as a tribute to Jackson, I saw it as a way for power-hungry music executives to make money off his death.
In fact, it was announced that in 2013, Jackson was named the top earning dead celebrity with $160 million made.
With shows like Long Island Medium, we have “mediums” like Theresa Caputo. Sure, I believe that ghosts exist and obviously I don’t know, nor will I never know, if Caputo can actually talk to the dead but watching her show, even for a few seconds, make me sick.
Caputo apparently earns $400,000 per season of Long Island Medium for what? Exploiting the dead? Telling families that their loved ones whom have passed are watching over them when it should be obvious?
Not only is Caputo and her show exploiting the dead, she’s also exploiting the grief of others. People believe that they’re getting in touch with a loved one by paying Caputo $400 for 30 minutes of her time when she merely tells them not to be sad, to embrace life… You know, the kind of things anyone might say to a grieving person.
This also hits home for me. Last winter, my great-uncle Ken passed away from leukemia. It was surprising, as I had no idea how sick he really was and made me terribly sad especially as I was unable to attend his funeral. My uncle had several classic cars and parts and last summer, his adult children who were in control of his will were approached by one of my dad’s brothers (another one of my uncles) and instead of expressing his sympathy, he asked about the cars, obviously hoping that they’d either give one to him or at a discounted rate, obviously not being able to afford them full price himself. It made me sick when I was told that he did that and I still can’t look at my uncle in a positive light to this day.
One thing that does please me is when Beastie Boy member, Adam Yauch, passed away in 2012, he put it in his will that his music couldn’t be used in advertisements, thus stopping the exploitation. Several companies have since been sued for using Beastie Boys music or Yauch’s image in their advertisements.
Shaming the dead is something that’s also a huge pet peeve of mine and the reason why I can’t watch celebrity gossip shows such as E-Talk (not that I do anyways) after a popular celebrity has passed.
When Glee star, Cory Monteith, died everyone was tweeting and posting on Facebook about how said they were regarding his death. I was upset too. I’d been a fan of Glee while he was on the show and Monteith was from Calgary, where I’m from.
When it was announced that Monteith had died from a mixed drug toxicity containing heroin and alcohol, that’s what the news sites then chose to focus on besides his death.
Look, he drank and did drugs… Who cares that he was actually a decent human being that never abused anyone or did anything to hurt anyone else? Who cares that he left behind a legion of adoring fans, a girlfriend and a family? I felt that when the “media” focused on the drugs and the alcohol, they painted Monteith in a bad light when he never deserved to be treated like that.
The same goes with The Fast and the Furious star, Paul Walker, whom passed away last Monday.
Walker was a movie star who helped out charities and who had a family that included a 15-year-old daughter. In fact, the day he died, Walker was leaving a charity event for Reach Out Worldwide for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Unfortunately, the driver of his vehicle lost control and the car crashed and burst into flames. Walker died of the combined effects of traumatic and thermal injuries.
Instead of focusing on the charity event Walker attended and all the other charity work he’s done, people instead chose to focus on how he died. They shamed him for “reckless driving” and some people even made jokes on how it was ironic that he died in a car accident, being the star from The Fast and the Furious.
There was a tweet (which has since been deleted) from twitter user, @hellosarahurie, which particularly made me angry.
“Wow…RIP Paul Walker. @VegasHeather & I saw you driving very recklessly earlier today in your Porsche and now this @TMZ”
While it’s one thing to express your sympathy on the Internet, tagging a “media” outlet such as TMZ and shaming said dead human in your tweet is a major no-no. You’re not doing it because you care about the person, you’re merely doing it for attention.
Remember, even if they’re dead now, those humans were once alive and well. There are many people out there who genuinely miss them and are probably sick of the shaming and exploitation as well.
When you pass, do you want to be made fun of for how you died? Do you want people to alert TMZ and give them personal information? Do you want your personal items auctioned off for millions of dollars? If not, then I suggest you check how you act next time you decide to express your “sympathy” for someone who passed away.
It’s one thing to worship and love a celebrity but when do we take things too far?
Brendon Urie, the lead singer for Panic! At The Disco, thought it’d be funny to make a rape joke in the middle of a concert in 2011, claiming that if he saw you after their show, he’d “have sex with you, whether you liked it or not.” Of course, it was a concert setting so the crowd of mostly teenage girls screamed.
Several members of the crowd came forward after the fact and said they felt uncomfortable in the audience when he made that joke. Those people got shunned, saying it was just Brendon and he did stuff like that all the time. It’s just a joke. But let’s face it, if a random guy on the street told you that, you’d be deeply disturbed.
But again, it was a crowd scenario so the people cheering after he made the joke probably didn’t even really hear what he said, they were just happy to hear his voice. So let’s try a different example.
On December 19, 2012, it was announced that Ian Watkins, the lead singer of the band Lostprophets was charged with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a female under 13 years old and possession and distribution of indecent images of children. He was also accused of conspiring to rape a one-year-old child and having an extreme animal pornography collection.
After denying the charges for almost a year, yesterday it was reported that Watkins finally pleaded guilty along with two other women. Allegedly, those two women were fans. Fans who were convinced they were in love with Watkins and offered their own children up to him to abuse.
I get it; there are those celebrities that we fall head over heels in love with. We think everything about them is perfect from their appearance to their impeccable personality. Even I’m guilty of this when it comes to one (or several) musicians.
But somewhere, we have to draw the line. We have to realize that if they do problematic things, they shouldn’t be pardoned for them. If any average Joe on the street did it, you’d be calling them out on it but it’s okay for your favourite celebrity to do it?
Personally, I like to call celebrities out on problematic stuff they do, just as I call out regular people on it too. I’ve called them out on it online and ranted and I’ve received several hateful messages because of it. I’ve been called dumb and ugly and told that it’s “people like me who give fandoms a bad name” and to “stop and develop a sense of humour” by fans who believe that their idol can do no wrong. It doesn’t bother me, I’m not going to let some sad human on the other end of their computer screen bring me down. I find it funny because technically, I think they’re the one that’s wrong.
In Brendon Urie’s case, I’d be fine with it if he just apologized. He’s made several videos on the popular app, Vine, bashing religion, making sexist remarks and making light of mental illnesses and when he’s called out on it, he gets defensive about it, making fun of the people who called him out on it. Just admit you screwed up, apologize and we’re good.
I hope that one day we can have a legion of fans who’s stars in their eyes don’t affect their own personal judgement. I hope that if this happens, we won’t have so many problematic musicians in the industry.
We are taught to walk scared late at night. We cradle our keys between our perfectly manicured fingers, walking gracefully like a baby antelope in a herd of lions. That our virginity defines our character. That I am a frigid bitch if I do not fuck him, and a dirty slut if I do.”
What does it take to turn your unknown punk band into a newsworthy one? Why not make some controversial pornography!
Get Shot! was a small band from Sacramento until they released “Westboro Fingerbang,” on Oct. 23, a video of their bisexual bassist Laura Lush masturbating on the front lawn of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
The band, like most sensible folks, has a strong hatred for the church and the hateful things that they preach. They thought that since the church has protested at funerals, other churches and concerts and invaded others’ privacy that they should do be allowed to do what they want to them.
The church itself isn’t any stranger to musicians targeting them with the Foo Fighters dressing up as rednecks and singing an ode to gay sex in the church’s honour in 2011.
“We’re trying to put a stance out that says ‘don’t be scared, you can fuck with these people,’” said J.P. Hunter, Get Shot!’s vocalist.
Originally the band planned to do it with an actual porn star and another girl versus their bassist but the porn actress wasn’t able to do it because it violated her contract while the other girl didn’t want to get arrested. With no actresses available, Lush stepped up.
“I wanted to spread my legs and cause controversy,” said Lush.
The band’s been around for seven years but never had they received any publicity like the one they got because of this video. The band now considers the band both a porn and a music project.
“The [porn] website’s only been around since July to get publicity for the band, because sex sells and music is boring now,” said Hunter. “I want to bring the party and fun back to rock and roll, because everyone is going to electronica and dupstep, because that’s where all the naked bitches and cocaine is.”
In any other case I’d be totally against it as it is extremely disrespectful to one’s faith BUT since it is the Westboro Baptist Church and they’ve done so much worse than getting off in public, I’m all for it.
This is a church that carry signs proclaiming “Thank God for 9/11,” “God hates fags” and “Pray for more dead soldiers.” If anyone deserves this, it’s them.
While they know the church is incredibly mad about the porn, the band doesn’t care, believing that people are pretty proud of them for what they did. Which, to be honest, I totally am.
Does strict parenting lead to sneakier kids?
I was never a go out and party kid when I was in high school, all I asked for was to go to a few concerts a year which my parents allowed and were completely understandable about. They understood my love for music, being music fans themselves. Their understanding went so far as letting me skip school for a day to line up early when my favourite band came to Calgary in 2011, when I was 16.
Several of my friends also loved music, which is why we became friends in the first place. They had much stricter parents than mine and even when they were sixteen, seventeen years old, they still couldn’t go to concerts without their parents tagging along. This blew my mind because my parent’s let me go to my first concert without them (but with a friend) when I was 12.
Of course they didn’t just send me on my way, they made sure they knew who I was going with, that I’d call them if anything went wrong and that I’d be back home by a certain time.
A blog post I read asks the same question I initially did… The blogger admits that her strict parents did have a negative impact on her character and emotional development.
As a teenager, her parents didn’t trust her and thus she started sneaking out to drink and go clubbing with her friends. Her relationship with her parents weakened because of the lack of trust.
That’s the main issue when it comes to parents and their children, there needs to be a great level of trust. Parents also need to remember their youth and how strict their parents might’ve been and try and improve on that so their children have better childhoods than they did.
My friends in high school, because of their parents’ lack of trust, started sneaking out to go to parties and drink, get tattoos behind their parents’ back and one friend even had a pregnancy scare because of this underage partying.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t be allowed to have fun once in a while, but do it responsibly. Parents have to know that their kids are probably going to indulge in underage drinking, so instead of trying to stop them, they should work things out so the parents know where their kids are and be available if they need a ride home. They need to teach them how to be safe in these situations versus refusing to talk about them at all.
Even though we’re technically adults now, my friends still need to ask their parent’s permission to go out and do certain things, even if it is to hang out at the mall or go to the movies. When I’m home, I tell my parents my plans in case they had something planned for us previously, but I don’t ask for permission anymore. It’s not like my dad goes to my Grandpa to ask permission to do things.
I’m grateful that I have an incredible amount of trust with my parents that I’m able to tell them how I went to the bar on a Friday night and that they’re able to tell me about how they let loose at a concert they went to recently or exactly how smashed my dad got at his 50th birthday party.
I love how when I do go get my first tattoo; I’ll be able to tell them about it versus going behind their backs. While they don’t like tattoos, they understand that it’s my body and I’m able to do what I want with it. I honestly couldn’t imagine sneaking behind my parent’s backs at all.
I’ll leave you with this quote from the blog I’m referencing that I agree with wholeheartedly, “Teenagers desire exploration above all else and will seek them with or without permission and a parent’s ability to accept this will determine much more than their teenager’s weekend exploits.”
It’s almost Halloween and while it is my favourite “holiday” there are a lot of things I despise about it.
One thing I’ll never be prepared for is the phrase that gets thrown around the most… “What a slut.” Yes, because I’m sure that girl in the skimpy outfit really appreciates that comment.
Let’s say I have an urge to be Freddy Krueger this year for Halloween so I walk into the nearest costume store and head over to the girl’s section. The Freddy costume is a mini dress with three slashes down the front of it, barely covering anything.
It’s like that with all costumes. You want to be a nurse? How about a “sexy nurse” instead. Throw sexy in front of normal costumes and there’s what you have. Even if a girl didn’t want to dress sexy, she doesn’t have much of a conservative selection to choose from.
If a little girl has an urge to be Spiderman, instead of the blue and red costume, all she’ll see are pink ones, sometimes in dress form. How’s she supposed to save the world looking like that?
And then we hit the racist costumes. Geisha, Mexican, blackface, Indian… These are all someone’s culture, not something you can wear for one night of fun. How do you think a Mexican person thinks when they see someone in a big sombrero, moustache and in a poncho? If I was them, I’d be offended.
But back to the sexy costumes… If you want to slut it up then do so. It’s your choice to be whatever you want and no one should be giving you flack for it. And if you want a more conservative costume, you’ll have to search a little more for it but you rock it, whatever it is.
I recently came across this slam poetry on Halloween costumes and I absolutely love it. You can check it out here.
So have a happy Halloween and remember, be sexy and racy, not sexist and racist.
Music Monday: "It’s Almost Halloween" by Panic! At The Disco. Halloween’s on Thursday so I guess this is an appropriate time to play this tune. So listen along and "do the trick or treat".
Also, former Panic! guitarist Ryan Ross recently came off of a little music hiatus and has some new songs that you can listen to here.
Throwback Thursday: June 13, 2007 - October 24, 2013. Happy Birthday, The Black Parade!
It’s crazy how time flies. One minute I’m the strange kid with few friends and a disability that’s bringing her down, and the next I’m a semi-confident college student starting her life. Really, I don’t think I’d be where I am if it wasn’t for My Chemical Romance.
The “romance” started in 2007… One of my friends called me over and told me to listen to this song on her Walkman (yeah, those were around back then). It was My Chemical Romance’s, “Welcome To The Black Parade”. Growing up, I was raised on classic rock such as The Who, The Beatles, etc so this was strange and at first I didn’t like it but it makes sense because they say that growing up we listen to the music our parents listen to before detaching from that and moving on to music our friends listen to.
After that song, I walked away but MCR was always at the back of my mind and when my friend at the time complained about having two tickets to see them but no one to go with, I did what any good friend would do and offered to go with her. She immediately made me a downloaded copy of their latest CD, The Black Parade, which I still have to this day.
I was 12 and it was my first concert without parental supervision. I was nervous but excited. Granted I regret not being much of a bigger fan then because I barely remember the show. Some of the moments I do remember was being appalled at Gerard Way’s constant swearing (I was 12, okay), him giving onions and dip to a crew member who’s birthday it was and then telling him to “clean this shit up” (that’s super fuzzy so I may be wrong) and a girl in front of me who sang along to every word like her life depended on it and it probably did. Little did I know that I was soon about to become that girl.
After the show, my “downward spiral” began. I fell in love with this band that consisted of these four geeks from Jersey (and one from Chicago). As MCR’s popularity went down, the people that I surrounded myself with that got me into the band slowly grew out of them, but I kept falling further in love.
As years went on there were some ups and downs… Drummer Bob Bryar left the group in 2010, bassist Mikey Way was found to have cheated on his wife with someone who was several years younger than him and then eventually the band broke up on March 22, 2013.
That broke my heart. This was the band that got me into music and made it my number one passion in life. They’ve helped me through ups and downs and gave me some of the best friends I have today. I truly believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for My Chemical Romance.
Their album The Black Parade turned seven today and I just wanted to celebrate it with this blog post. So thanks, TBP, you made me who I am today and you’ll always be my favourite album and MCR will always be my favourite band.
Here’s to seven more years.
Listen to the album in full here.